The possibility that social foragers adjust and coordinate their scanning activity when in the presence of close relatives to attain inclusive fitness benefits remains controversial and scarcely examined. To this aim, we first tested the null hypothesis of no association between foraging individuals of the diurnal rodent, Octodon degus and their pairwise relatedness (six microsatellite loci), under natural conditions. Secondly, we examined the influence of relatedness on scan effort (percent overlapping) and temporal distribution of scanning using linear regression. Finally, we evaluated whether temporal distributions of scanning were significantly lower (coordination) or higher (synchrony) than random expectations using bootstrapping. We found that pairwise relatedness between focal degus and their foraging partner did not influence the scan effort or the temporal distribution of scanning. These original, field-based findings imply that vigilance behavior in socially foraging degus is unlikely to be kin-selected and adds to results from previous lab studies in that kinship remains a poor predictor of social behavior in these animals. Overall, our study adds to others revealing that kin selection may not have had an impact on aspects of social behavior such as vigilance during social foraging.
- Social foraging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology